As cybernetic technology advances, criminal activities are becoming daily common occurrences. For Chief Aramaki and his ELITE squad, Section 9, they are the only ones with the means to put an end to cyber terrorism. Join Togusa, Ishikawa, The Major, Batou, and the rest of the Section 9 team through a intellectual roller coaster ride in the 21st century.
Story:Ghost in the shell 2nd gig's story is presented infinitely better than the first gig. I say that because, where the first was littered with absolutey horendous filler the eats up half the anime, 2nd gig has fewer filler, much more appropriately placed, most tying in and not breaking up the seasons flow, and just much better in terms of enjoyability. For example in season one where we would have a random out of place story interupting and poorly executed standalone episode about a random villain we could not care less about, here we are treated to funny and well executed shorts like if a member of section 9 ended up in court. However since there are only a few fillers luckily we have a nice meaty plot to focus on. In contrast to the smaller scale laughing man arc that first gig brought us, there are some big differences. First, the concept of war is heavily touched upon, which of course leads to more serious terrorism than we saw in the prequel. Second there are more defined antagonists which is a good thing, but of course gives it a much different feel from it's predecessor. There is a lot of politics, philosophy, and conflict sprawled across the series and I must say it is implemented very well. SAC 2 definetley is the overall best thing out for Ghost in the Shell right now, and touches on many new themes not in the first installment. Animation:Really good. Some of the best animation I have seen in an actual series thus far. Characters are very distinct, and there is never a moment of "huh who is that?" You know, and you know it well. There is not any repetition in action scenes and they are all fluid and fresh. Some characters have been redone in some ways, and they look even more suitable and fresh.Sound:Really REALLY good. The opening is one of my favorite of all time and the soundtrack is one of the best as well. Voice actors are well cast, and sound effects in all regard are on key. Characters:Characters are not Ghost in the shell's strong point. However this season a few things redeem them. The first is having more antagonists and protgonists to identify with. More importantly however, main characters are much more fleshed out, we get some backstory segments, and more connections between new and old characters. The points off come from still neglecting a few primary characters wholly. They all lack extreme depth, that can be found in all top animes(Berserk, Monster ect.) but this season is definetley steps in the right direction.Overall:I just can't bring myself to bring this anime into the 8 category for whatever reason. It has so many good pieces, but the characters are just missing a little something, and the story isn't quite good enough without truly compelling characters to give it the boost I feel is needed to get into the top tier of anime legends. It is still an extremely worthwhile anime, even to those not obsessed with scifi(though if you are you've already seen this!). A fitting sequel in the GIS franchise.
Ghost in the Shell 2nd gig is a rather complex story line. I mean, so much happens it’s amazing I can still remember after watching it like 3 times, but I will try. In the future, Asian refugees have started to come into Japan, legally, and started to take low paying jobs. Without Major in Section 9, solving crime has been harder and harder, but behind the scenes, Major is working diligently to discover who is leading the refugees to a growing war. With glimpses into team members of section 9's past and clues concerning Kuze's (revolutionary war leader) whereabouts, how could anyone want to miss the exhilarating, on-edge, chase to stop the most wanted terrorist. (Alright for making that up on my own I did pretty damn good. Watch it and just see how amazing it is yourself.) The story by far is more interesting than the 1st gig, but im a gun-ho kinda guy so that may be the reason. In 26 episodes, there is quite a plot here, with corrupt government officials to the revolution, the criminals never cease. Just take my word for it, it will keep you on your toes the whole time. Where to begin, where....to begin. Clear as a crystal is how I would describe everything concerning animation in the sequel. The action packed series is not without intense explosions and bullet fire. Everything can be seen clearly and hand to hand fights are freaking awesome. The movements are spectacular; each fight is, be it hand-to-hand or gun fire, depicts realism and never ceases to amaze me. The artwork/design is just as astonishing as in the first, if not better. They did an overhaul on the character designs and improved their individual outlooks. Motoko is looking even sexier and more lethal especially in the sequel and as one may tell, the designers in no way rushed her figure. Out of all the soundtracks I've heard in my time, Ghost in the Shell has to be number 1. With cyborg characters, the fast pace Electronic songs or the slow orchestral songs together create a beautiful soundtrack with massive range. Yoko Kanno being the producer of all the music really pours her soul into these songs. If you don't like the music then you don't like Ghost in the Shell pretty much. It's what makes the anime what it is. With awesome action theme songs, every scene has perfect background music to it. Flawless sound is sure to engrave itself in your memory. So check out the OST, I’ll bet my cat that you'll be favoriting all the songs on YouTube before you know it. Being this is the sequel, if you haven't seen the prequel then I don't know why you are reading this. Leave! The prequel did a great job in explaining all the characters and who they are. By now, we all know each and every character and how they all have their own personality. Motoko is the leader, without the title, who everyone looks up to. In the 2nd gig, we learn even more about the characters past including the mysterious Motoko Kusanagi. The characters are displayed perfectly and once again they have no flaws in design. When called upon, they all work link a well-oiled machine and get "that" much further to completing the mission. Each character is assigned their own mission and it's interesting to see how each resolves the conflict. Now don't get me wrong, they have their problems of course (or it wouldn't be the anime that it is) but otherwise they fit into their roles like a leather glove. On another note, Motoko has new outfit and man she can move. She doesn’t seems as skimpy, which s a good thing. Like liquid, she defeats all her enemies with precise hits and doesn't waste an ounce of effort. Shes calm and takes control of the situation with ease, an amazing character and one of the best. Overall this anime is an awesome ride and it’s hard to find a better cyborg/sci-fi anime. This anime is definitely one of those that can be watched over and over again and it never gets old. In some cases it needs to be rewatched to understand it what’s going on. All the characters are extremely likable, the plot draws you in and the music is worthy of looking up. An extremely incredible series for all you sci-fi, girls with guns, futuristic, action fans and one of those animes that you cannot afford to miss out on. The future of Japan is a crime infested wasteland, only Section 9 can clean up the mess. You don't want to miss The Major, Batou, Togusa, Section 9, and the Tachikoma kick some serious ass.
I decided to skip writing a review for the first season of Stand Alone Complex as the second season is basically an improved version of 1st Gig. Safe to say, if you are a fan of the first season, you willl find that 2nd Gig improves upon it in every way. Instead of a mysterious villain that only reveals himself towards the end of 1st Gig, 2nd Gig exposes its villian early on, leading to a more cohesive and ultimately more satisfying experience. Even the stand alone episodes in 2nd Gig tie in to the main plot unlike those in 1st Gig. As always there are no lolis,harems,teenage angst or other typical anime tropes. GITS is unequivocally mature, remaining to this day one of the very few anime which adult viewers can enjoy. The characters do not drive the plot forward, instead we have a compelling main storyline involving themes such as immigration, racism and political intrigue. The stakes are higher than in 1st Gig as war threatens to ravage Japan. The military and government get involved, making the situation even more complex. The action is more frenetic, characters reveal more of their past and motivations, new themes are explored and our heroine even gets some closure (won't spoil it :D). The last two episodes were the best of the series imo, leaving GITS ending on a high note. After GITS 1st Gig ended I wondered how it would ever be topped. 2nd Gig showed me how. If you crave mature and complex anime, you owe it to yourself to watch GITS SAC. It is truely one of a kind and has never been emulated since. It is just a shame this type of anime has all but died out in recent years.
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